Laos to Ask Ch. Karnchang to Finance Mekong River Hydropower Dam Review

Bloomberg 10 May 2011

By Daniel Ten Kate 

Laos will ask Bangkok-based Ch. Karnchang Pcl to pay for a review of a $3.8 billion hydropower dam on the Mekong River after downstream countries called for a delay to further study environmental concerns.

The Thai-financed Xayaburi hydropower plant is the first of about 10 dams the government plans to build on the mainstream Mekong, which runs from China’s Tibetan plateau through Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Ch. Karnchang, Thailand’s third-biggest construction company by market value, owns a 57 percent stake in the 115 billion baht ($3.8 billion) project.

“We are delaying the project but not permanently,” Daovong Phonekeo, deputy director general of Laos’s Department of Electricity, said by phone today from Vientiane, the capital. “We are just discussing the process and then requesting the developer to finance the additional review.”

Ch. Karnchang hasn’t received a request to finance the review, Supamas Trivisvavet, an executive vice president, said by phone today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Ten Kate in Bangkok at dtenkate@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Jordan at tjordan3@bloomberg.net

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